The Eastern Railroad revisited

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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:27 pm

My pleasure! I've always had a sentimental attachment to the Eastern as it went through the town I grew up in. I enjoy walking and as most of the Eastern is undeveloped and hikable/bikable/ATVable (I've seen people on horseback as well), it just seemed like a perfect match for a B&M fan with a camera.

Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:44 pm

Just past Hobbs Crossing at the intersection of Meetinghouse Rd. and Chick Crossing Rd. stood Chicks station (approximate location indicated by the red arrow on the map), named after the Chick family whose farm was located halfway down Chick Crossing Rd.

Chick Crossing Road, of course, got its name because of its close proximity to the Eastern even though said railroad did not actually cross said road.
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Chicks depot. Photo courtesy of the B&M Historical Society Archives.
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Chicks station location today with Chick Crossing Rd. on the right. The Eastern crossed Meetinghouse Rd. here (ROW indicated by the red square).
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MEC407
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by MEC407 » Sun Dec 08, 2019 9:28 am

A little extra trivia: Meetinghouse Road got its name because the original Highpine Baptist Church, initially known simply as the Baptist meetinghouse, stood at the corner of Meetinghouse Road and Route 109. The name of the church was First Baptist Church of Wells Depot during part of its history.
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:29 pm

Moving on to the Branch Brook crossing on the Wells/Kennebunk border. One of the deepest "valleys" the P.S.P./Eastern had to fill in order to get to Portland. It is roughly 75 - 100 feet from the bottom of the forest floor to the top of the ROW where the tracks were laid. Tons of earth had to be dumped to build up this dirt causeway, most likely using only horse, cart, man and shovel.

Navigating down the steep, leaf strewn embankment to get to Branch Brook was a little challenging as there ain't no hand rail. What I found at the bottom was that the railroad chose to build another arch to cross Branch Brook.

The ROW over Branch Brook.
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The second shot is at the far end of the "beach". What I find amazing is that the "hill" above the Branch Brook arch, which stretches as far as the eye can see in either direction is entirely man-made. It didn't exist prior to 1840.
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The arch was built around 1842.
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:43 pm

An old crossing in Kennebunk. It's filled in now but there was a bridge over the Eastern here at one time. The rusty guardrail looks decades old. The remains of a wooden guardrail behind it even older.
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Now you know why I don't do much photography in the summer. Believe it or not, there once was a railroad in that jungle.
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trainsinmaine
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by trainsinmaine » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:31 am

As it's been quite a few years since I last traced the Eastern ROW through southern Maine, I'm curious to know where this is. Is it the bridge site on Route 35, just to the west of the I-95 Kennebunk Service Plaza? Also, why would it be filled in? I thought the entire route was kept clear for the gas line.

Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:53 pm

It's been more than 3 years since I took that photo but IIRC it's the Maguire Rd. crossing in Kennebunk. It was filled in decades before the gas/power company laid the gas line. The rails were removed in 1944 after that section of the Eastern was abandoned but the bridge was kept in place until it was deemed unsafe (50s? 60s?) then removed and the gap filled in. The gas/power company built their gas line on the Eastern ROW in, what, the 1990s?

Here's a shot of that same Maguire Rd. crossing taken last month showing the yellow gas line markers marching toward the filled in gap, up and over it.

I just noticed what looks like the original granite blocks that would have supported the bridge that once crossed the Eastern here, still in place. That would mean that the weathered wooden fence in the previous post would have actually been the guardrail for that bridge.
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:54 pm

The Mousam River causeway, just south of the West Kennebunk station. My camera has a good zoom lens so I can get pretty good close-ups. Otherwise I'd have to rent a boat to get these shots! Another steep drop from the ROW to the river.
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And a few shots of the ROW on top of the causeway, looking south and north.
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:07 pm

And just down the line, the West Kennebunk station, no longer standing,
behind the USPS on Alfred Road (Main St. in those days).
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West Kennebunk station circa 1910. Apparently big hats with flowers
or fruit on top were popular in those days.
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The 1872 map shows the West Kennebunk station and the Mousam River
crossing a quarter of a mile south of the station.
Kennebunk Depot 1872.png
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Last edited by Manalishi on Thu Dec 12, 2019 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MEC407
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by MEC407 » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:03 pm

Manalishi wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:07 pm
Apparently big hats with flowers or fruit on top were popular in those days.
Minnie Pearl (of Hee Haw fame) would surely approve!
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:41 pm

On the other side of Interstate 95, on the Kennebunk/Arundel border is the Kennebunk River crossing. The original railroad bridge was removed decades ago but a replacement was built when this section of the Eastern became an official rail trail.
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Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:46 pm

I was afraid the state had paved the old ROW and made it too family friendly but it was smooth dirt and with the exception of some unnecessary wooden fencing to prevent people from falling off the edge of the ROW (unlikely given how wide it is), it was largely the way it was left when the rails were removed.
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The bridge over Duck Brook, similar in construction to the Merriland River bridge in Wells.
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arthur d.
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by arthur d. » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:19 pm

Outside your area of coverage perhaps, but what do you know about the location known as Spinneys switch (mile 60.65) and Days siding (89.63) Both were important enough, in the day, to warrant telephones.

Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:16 pm

Never heard of either one. Both show up in various Railroad Commissioner's Reports and newspaper articles regarding accidents. Day's Siding does appear in old B&M time tables as about 3 miles north of the West Kennebunk station. Spinney's switch seems to be roughly 3 miles north of the Kittery Jct. station placing it somewhere in Eliot, perhaps where the double tracking started. Can't find either on any vintage topo maps.

Manalishi
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Re: The Eastern Railroad revisited

Post by Manalishi » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:34 pm

North of Limerick Road, a granite double portal culvert bridges an unknown stream.
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As I was walking in the woods to photograph the stream crossing in the photo above, I happened to look down and saw a piece of green glass which I knew was the remains of a telegraph insulator. There were thousands of them on telegraph poles until they were cut down and the insulators taken by collectors or souvenir hunters. There are really none left to find "on location" so finding one in any shape is unusual. The question was, was it intact? It looked like it had been buried for many decades but when I pulled it out of the earth, I was pleased to see, barring a few minor chips, it was whole.

When I say there are no insulators to find "in situ", it's because while the stumps are still there, the telegraph poles themselves have been removed. In New Hampshire, the poles lie where they fell, but I've yet to find a single telegraph pole in Maine on the Eastern. No idea what the reason might be.
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